5:58 PM CDT, July 22, 2013
We won’t know for maybe three years, but it seems like Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer got a good return for Matt Garza.
They certainly got a lot of bodies in the potentially 5-for-1 deal with Texas that was mercifully completed before Garza was scheduled to start Monday night.
The Cubs also seem to have gotten some quality, snagging three of the Rangers’ top 14 prospects, according to Baseball America rankings earlier this year.
It seems like a strong move, but we’ll have to wait on it. Wait and trust the draft-and-develop machine that Epstein and Hoyer claim they were going to construct.
That’s the somewhat empty feeling on days like this. There had been so much anticipation about trading Garza going back to last year before he got hurt. It seemed like there was a countdown this year, and apparently there was, right up until he was scheduled to start in Arizona on Monday.
Then, when that kind of deal is completed and the Cubs’ biggest trade chip is actually traded, it’s for, well, hope because we don’t know how the new Cubs will turn out. Hope tends to feel like cotton candy on days like this. Pretty, then where’d it go and how come I’m not satisfied?
We don’t know whether third base prospect Mike Olt had temporary vision problems or, gulp, something worse. But that answer might come as he turns 25 next month.
We also won’t know ultimately where Olt will play. He plays third base now and might play there for the Cubs, even though they spent their top pick this season on third baseman Kris Bryant.
Then again, Olt might end up as a corner outfielder. Or maybe Bryant will.
The idea is they stocked the system with potential. That was the whole point. That will continue to be the point. That and buying steel and selling ads.
We won’t know for a while whether right-handed pitchers C.J. Edwards and Justin Grimm can develop into rotation regulars for the pitching-challenged Cubs system.
Grimm figures to show something first. He has pitched in the majors the last two seasons, going 7-7 in 17 starts with an unsightly 6.37 ERA this year.
Edwards, though, is the key to the deal. At Class-A Hickory this season, he was 8-2 with a 1.83 ERA and 122 strikeouts in 93 1/3 innings. He hasn’t allowed a home run since turning pro.
But again, that’s Class-A and below, so we won’t know for sure for a while.
One thing we do know for sure: The Cubs traded Garza when he was at his hottest and healthiest. They traded Garza before he could go on the disabled list at precisely the wrong time again.
So at least Epstein and Hoyer are better than last year, even if the Cubs might not turn out to be.
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